Should festivals have hobbyist/amateur videographers? Ideally, no. They shouldn’t.
Here are some reasons why:
1. They make people feel uncomfortable - Some dancers don’t want to be filmed 24/7. If you’re an artist, it’s expected. However, a lot people are there just to social dance and don’t want to be on camera(I’m one of those people). Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re having an amazing dance, only to open your eyes and have a videographer in your face. You turn away and dance towards the opposite direction signaling you don’t want to be filmed. The videographer proceeds to follow you and continues filming. Your amazing moment is over because the videographer didn’t get the hint.
This is a prime example of what I see all the time. Again, it’s okay if it’s packed at 1 AM and you’re near the stage dancing with an artist. However, a lot of amateurs will go to the back of the room and film people who don’t want to be filmed. This makes people feel uncomfortable and lessens their experience. If you’re a social dancer and would like to be filmed, let the videographer know so they can look for you on the dance floor.
An experienced videographer knows when and how to film certain people. Filming is an art. You don’t want to show people that you are there with a camera (ie. big LED lights on cameras filming 24/7), you want to blend in and keep your distance. You want people to watch the video and think - “How the heck did they get that shot?” A 70-200 zoom lens allows us to film people from a distance.
2. They record too much - Amateurs will record everything. Every social, every couple, every demo- everything. The problem with this is that you want to maintain a professional image online and not show dead space. Dead space shows the room isn’t that full and that there aren’t that many people present. You want to show that your event is packed. There is no reason to film at the beginning/end of the evening when there aren’t as many people.
An experienced videographer will shoot to edit. They have an idea of the shot they need and are imagining how they are going to edit the video. They’ll shoot during the peak hours of your festival to show the maximum amount of people are present(and also use the right lens). What’s better? Having 800 gigs of unusable footage, or 200 gigs of amazing footage?
3. They upload to their own business page - Most hobbyists will upload to their own FB/IG page in hopes of getting as may likes and shares possible. This benefits them, and not the festival. All video content should be uploaded directly to the client’s page using their logo and branding.
4. They claim they have a following - If a person has 3 million followers on instagram and they film your festival, how many of the 3 million followers will actually attend your festival? The sad reality is: not many. Yes, it’s great for exposure and visibility. However, most of the people consuming dance content and following these types of IG accounts (featured accounts) aren’t really dancers. They just enjoy seeing boobs, butts, and/or super sexy dancing/grinding.
A person with a following does not mean they are good with a camera. There are people that are influencers and run featured accounts that do not film. Again, these people are good for exposure and visibility, but not good for online branding, professional video, and creating value for the dancers that paid to attend your festival.
Viral videos are great for exposure but won’t bring more people to your festival. We wrote a post about this a few months ago: Pros and Cons of Viral Dance Videos
5. They don’t do recaps - Most amateurs just film demos(which is really easy and abundant these days). A recap is extremely difficult to put together in a short amount of time. It requires many lenses, different angles, different locations, different types of movements, and many hours of editing.
Recaps don’t typically get a lot of views and don’t go viral. They are created to provide value to everyone who attended your event. They allow people to reflect on your event and will forever have something to look back on. It’s a compilation of the entire weekend condensed into one or two minutes.
6. They decrease the overall value of your festival - Do you ever see videos online that make you cringe? Have you seen promoters use poor spelling/grammar when marketing their festival? Having no online content of your festival is better than having bad content. In today’s online world, social media presence is everything. It’s good to take a step back and look at your overall image online for your brand/event/festival.
Sometimes it’s nice not having a photographer/videographer present. There is no hype, flashes, or someone following you around snapping 10 photos trying to get that right angle. Everyone is dancing together as one, without any interruptions or distractions.
If latin-dance festivals attracted 5,000+ people, this article would not have been written. However, most latin-dance festivals attract 150-800 people which makes it a unique and sometimes difficult environment to engage and film dancers.
This post was written to strengthen the dance community and create the best possible environment for dancers. Festival organizers and promoters should be aware of the people they bring on to capture their event. Knowledge, experience, awareness, and common sense applies to anyone filming or photographing Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Brazilian Zouk festivals.
If you see SBKZ Media present at your festival, please introduce yourself and say hi. When filming, we’re always searching for those smiles :)